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Poster: HektorT Date: Aug 14, 2011 9:27am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Is Alice of Wonderland in Paris really public domain?

It doesn't say that GoodTimes acquired a license, it says:

"The music in the film was separately copyrighted, however, and is still protected by copyright law. GoodTimes' rights derive from United Artists ("UA"), which owned the music copyrights".

In this case the word "derive" means that GoodTimes has rights because UA had rights.

The decision refers to a footnote and discusses the contract between Batjac and UA:

"The contract separately conveyed to UA in perpetuity rights to musical works in the film. Although this section did not include a future technologies clause, the contract gave UA "any and all worldwide rights under copyright and otherwise . . . to the music and musical compositions recorded or contained upon the sound track of the Picture"

That confirms what I said above. Also explains that UA paid for music synchronisation rights *in perpetuity* whether or not the film was under copyright. They had to pay because the contract was made before the film was PD (i.e. before the film was ever released).

I understand this to mean that the court has confirmed that once you have sold the synch rights in perpetuity, you don't get them back if the film goes PD. On the other hand in this case the contract specifically addressed those issues.

This is now a legal discussion, which I'm not qualified to discuss...

This post was modified by HektorT on 2011-08-14 16:27:29

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Poster: larus Date: Aug 14, 2011 9:19am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Is Alice of Wonderland in Paris really public domain?

It doesn't say that GoodTimes secured a license, it says:

"The music in the film was separately copyrighted, however, and is still protected by copyright law. GoodTimes' rights derive from United Artists ("UA"), which owned the music copyrights".

The decision refers to a footnote


Actually, the relevant footnote (the one you quoted above is Footnote 2, which is related to a different paragraph) from the decision says:
[ Footnote 1 ] EMI Catalogue Partnership ("EMI"), the successor in interest to UA, licensed to GoodTimes the right to use the musical compositions in connection with the manufacturing and distribution of the film.

So, why did Good Times need the license if the music, when synched with the film is supposed to remain PD?

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Poster: HektorT Date: Aug 14, 2011 10:20am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Is Alice of Wonderland in Paris really public domain?

Yeah, I was just reading that again. I quoted section I of the Opinion. As I said, I am no lawyer ... Anyway, maybe GoodTimes paid for rights before 1991 which would be when the copyright came up for renewal. Or maybe they paid then realized that they didn't need to after the fact, which brought about the lawsuit? It's easy to find people to sell you PD stuff. Maybe videocellar might have more details on the historical facts.

EDIT: In fact the court didn't decide on the issue of whether or not the music when synched is PD

Look here (don't know if this is a summary or what - but it is the court decision):
http://ftp.resource.org/courts.gov/c/F3/81/81.F3d.881.94-56444.95-55632.html

"Understandably, MPI does not argue that the synchronization rights were part of the motion picture copyright, because they would have expired when the motion picture copyright expired. It also does not argue that the synchronization rights existed separately from the motion picture and music copyrights; if that were the case, because Batjac did not copyright the synchronization rights, they would be part of the public domain

We do not decide whether the synchronization rights existed as part of the music copyrights, the movie copyrights, or independently, because MPI cannot prevail under any theory of copyright law."

Also to answer your question, The court itself was silent on the issue of whether or not paying to license the music was required. In any event, the fact that they paid was not a factor in the decision, just a footnote (shows good intentions). GoodTimes was maybe playing it safe and decided to clear the music. But maybe they paid for nothing, because MPI (who brought the lawsuit) says EMI didn't have the right to sell any music rights. But once again, the court didn't rule on that. Look here:

http://articles.philly.com/1993-05-06/entertainment/25966641_1_mclintock-batjac-productions-mpi-tape

"GoodTimes lawyers say the only rights that it had to clear were the music rights, which it obtained in negotiations with music publisher EMI. MPI argues that EMI had rights to a soundtrack album but not to the music as part of the film."


This post was modified by HektorT on 2011-08-14 17:20:52

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